Pre-Conference Symposium

EVA London 2017 Pre-Conference Symposium

Coded Communication: Digital Senses and Aesthetics, Merging Art and Life

See also a summary paper in the EVA London 2017 conference proceedings under DOI 10.14236/ewic/EVA2017.1

The EVA London 2017 Pre-Conference Symposium was held on Monday 10 July 2017 at the British Computer Society (London office), 5 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HA. This event was sponsored by the Royal College of Art, London, and the School of Information, Pratt Institute, New York, and in association with the London Summer School 2017 at King’s College London on The Arts and Digital Culture (26 June to 7 July 2017).

This one-day symposium framed several central questions in digital practice and digital theory, examining historical and contemporary themes across art, science and the humanities. Art has been transformed by the digital age, changing the tools and processes of practice, moving to digital expressions and digital seeing. These changes are balanced by the recurrent questions of the human condition, and of the ways that art both defines and transcends its time. In what ways does digital art address the social, cultural and historical debates of this time, without being simply determined by its technologies? And how can emergent disciplines around digital aesthetics and the digital humanities converse with the work of artists, innovators and technologists? In what ways does the new digital palette afforded by contemporary media open new ways of seeing, sensing and understanding the world? The symposium organisers invited a range of artists and theorists to discuss these themes, framed in the broader contexts of electronic visualisation and digital art of the EVA London conference.

The Symposium was dedicated to Ingrid Beazley (1950-2017).


Chaired by Gareth Polmeer (Royal College of Art), Tula Giannini (Pratt Institute), and Jonathan Bowen (London South Bank University).

09.30 Registration
10.00 Introduction and chair: Gareth Polmeer
Keynote: Douglas Dodds (Victoria and Albert Museum) – Engaging with Code: A V&A Perspective
10.45 Monika Parrinder (Royal College of Art) – Unpicking the Seams: Cities, Networks and Communication
11.15 Coffee/tea break
11.45 Chair: Tula Giannini
Chantal Faust (Royal College of Art) – Swimming in the Shallows: The Scan, the Touch and the Surface
12.15 Gareth Polmeer (Royal College of Art) – Digital Senses and the Autonomy of Art: Histories, Contexts and Possibilities
12.45 Buffet lunch break
14.00 Introduction and chair: Tula Giannini
Keynote: Brigitta Zics (Ravensbourne) – Art in the Age of Experience
14.45 Carla Gannis (Pratt Institute) – La Emoji Lujuria
15.15 Coffee/tea break
15.45 Chair: Jonathan Bowen
Peter Patchen (Pratt Institute) – From Atoms to Bits and Back Again: Finding Truth in Simulacrum
16.15 Tula Giannini (Pratt Institute) – Digital Art and Aesthetics: Transforming Museum Practice
16.30 Ross Parry (University of Leicester) – Digital Literacy and the Postdigital Museum: Introducing the ‘One by One’ Project
17.00 Panel – all speakers
17.45 Reception
19.00 Close

Speaker information

Douglas Dodds is Senior Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in the Word & Image Department. He is responsible for developing the Department’s digital art collections, which range from early computer art to recent born-digital works. Douglas also leads a project to digitise the Department’s prints, drawings, paintings and photograph collections.

Brigitta Zics is an award-winning artist who creates works with visual and material sensitivity that seeks to fashion new experiences. She works on the convergence of art and science and explores mixed-media forms combining various techniques and emerging technologies. Her recent interests embrace experiential art, human perception and art, and the aesthetics of data and algorithms. She is currently Deputy Head of Postgraduate Department at Ravensbourne, London, with a focus on practice-based research. See Brigitta’s website for more information.

Ross Parry is Associate Professor (Museum Studies) and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Digital) at the University of Leicester. He is also one of the founding Trustees of the Jodi Mattes Trust (for accessible digital culture). Ross is leading a major £600K national project (2017–2020), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and working with a network of 17 institutional partners, to develop a digital literacy framework for the UK museum sector. Ross is the author of Recoding the Museum: Digital Heritage and the Technologies of Change (2007), the first major history of museum computing, and in 2010 published Museums in a Digital Age (both Routledge). He is currently working on a post-digital history of illusion and artificiality in the museum.